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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

The most anticipated beatification in Latin America: martyrs from Peru


Peru's first martyrs could be these two Polish missionaries. They were kill by gunfire on August 9, 1991.

They spent almost a year in the country with another missionary. He was able to escape death because he happened to be in Poland during a visit by Pope John Paul II.

"I'll never forget this because he knew Peru very well. He visited Ayacucho years before. I think he was the only person at the time in Poland with whom I could share the details with, right? Then, with pain in his heart, he strongly told me: 'Go, go.' And he said: 'We have the first martyrs of Peru.'”

The three Franciscan monks were sent to one of the poorest and most violent parts of Peru, an area that was crucial for drug traffickers known as the "Shining Path.” The increase of missionary activity posed a threat to the drug runners, but they had yet to attack the Church directly. 

"Shining Path, from 1989 to 1990 or 1991, began to change their strategy little by little. And they chose us because they wanted to hit the Church hard.”

Postulator, Conventual Franciscans
"The village where they were, Pariacoto, was far from the capital of the area, Chimbote. It was in the mountains of the 'pre-Andes.' It was difficult to move and the military had been ousted from the area. The government did not send reinforcements and therefore they thought they could do whatever they wanted.”

And so the persecution of priests and nuns in Peru began. It was worsened by an ideological component: Communism.

The first victim was an Australian nun, who was killed in May, 1991. Afterward, they attempted to kill a Spaniard. That assassination failed. But when the drug traffickers tried to kill the two Poles, they succeeded. 

"So they killed them like the Communists in China do. Kneeling with their hands tied behind their backs, each was shot twice in the neck, along with the mayor of Pariacoto.”

Postulator, Conventual Franciscans
"On the body of one of the two priests, they found a piece of cardboard where they had written: 'This is how the lackeys of imperialism die.'”

The killing of the missionaries went largely unnoticed between the tide of murders and disappearances that people had become accustomed to hearing about in Peru.

The possible beatification of these two martyrs is also similar to that of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador. In all three cases, the victims kept a heroic attitude during a violent period. They were firm in their faith and remained with their people. 

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